Adapting Current Mariculture Techniques for Enhancement of Pinto Abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana)

Ḵ’aach’ or dulse is a traditionally important seaweed species that has been harvested in Southeast Alaska for millennia by the Tlingit and Haida peoples. Tribal members have expressed concern that this vibrant red algae may be threatened by climate change, nearshore contamination, and harvesting pressures. At the request of Justina Hotch, an educator in the Alaska Native community of Klukwan, we developed a small-scale tumble culture and curriculum to grow Ḵ’aach’ in a K-12 classroom in Klukwan and at a school in Juneau. Curriculum and materials were also created and shared. The tumble culture was created using basic parts from a hardware store and with the addition of artificial seawater and nutrients, the tumble culture can mimic the marine environment. Students are responsible for the care and near-daily maintenance of the tanks which includes adding nutrients, changing the water, cleaning tanks and charting growth. This program provides a hands-on approach to learning about a culturally significant species through its care and cultivation, and brings together community knowledge and research to educate a new generation on a significant food source.

Principal Investigator/Project Partners:

  • Becca Cates, NOAA
  • James Currie, NOAA
  • Jordan Hollarsmith, NOAA
  • Alicia Bishop, NOAA
  • Stori Oates, NOAA
  • Hannah Wilson, Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation
  • Justina Starzynski Hotch, Klukwan School

Project Term: 2021-2024

Funding: $10,000, NOAA Internal Call for Aquaculture Funds – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion grant